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17 Minute Read

IMAGINING AN EPIC SEASON KICKOFF EVENT FOR THE UFL

CELEBRATING A NEW KIND OF LEAGUE—ONE THAT’S ACCESSIBLE TO FANS AND COMMUNITY-FOCUSED!

The United Football League (UFL) is here. While the exciting, upstart Spring football league may not enjoy the brand recognition or the revenue numbers of the NFL (yet), there’s one place where the UFL may already have a home-field advantage. By focusing on community outreach, the league can create deeper and more meaningful relationships with fans than even larger, more established leagues. 

By creating opportunities for personal interactions between fans and the team, UFL franchises can foster relationships and transform casual fans into raving fans who attend every possible home game, buy tons of team swag, and share posts and love through their social channels, reaching even more potential fans. 

This approach can also attract increased support and investment from sponsors and local businesses, always seeking to strengthen ties with consumers in their community. It’s a different way for both league and team to achieve success, but one that is the missing ingredient in creating a Spring football league that goes the distance.

A FAN EVENT TO REMEMBER—INNOVATION UFL STYLE 

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The UFL has a unique opportunity to set a precedent—to transform how a professional football league builds community and lifts its hometowns—how it forges partnerships with local businesses to help them grow alongside their franchises—and have a lot of fun!

To get the ball rolling in style, imagine a multi-city kickoff event that creates a carnival-like atmosphere—a sports and entertainment mashup that features a “fan combine,” a blowout concert, and, to cap it all off, an epic drone light show that captivates everyone in attendance and fuels fan advocacy like never before.

While it might sound challenging to pull off, it’s easier than one might think—and can potentially deliver an unprecedented ROI for the UFL. Let’s explore these epic events and how they would come to life in each host city.

INCLUSIVITY, ACCESSIBILITY AND COMMUNITY BUILDING ON DISPLAY 

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Everybody knows that talk is cheap, people respond to actions, and the UFL can show fans they walk the walk regarding inclusivity and accessibility from the jump. We imagine an event that starts with a fan combine—inspired by the events of the NFL Scouting Combine, but for fans and one accessible to those of all ages and ability levels.

The best part is that the players from each team will make their way through all the events, mingling and interacting with their fans in a relaxed environment. It’s a chance for fans to connect with their hometown team in an unprecedented way. This is no step-sign-and-repeat autograph opportunity. Players are genuinely happy to be there to build the fanbase—up close and personal, interacting and making fans feel like they’re crucial to the team’s success—which is true!

There will also be plenty of opportunities for selfies, including Instagram-ready photo areas where fans can strike a pose with players—an excellent opportunity for the fans to reshare the content with the team's hashtags, drive engagement with their friends and followers, creating a massive wave of free social promotion for the team along with a wealth of content that can be repurposed throughout the year.

ROCKING OUT WITH HOMETOWN HEROES 

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Take a play from Travis Kelce’s playbook and elevate this event by capping off the evening with a concert like the Kelce Jam featuring the best local artists and bringing the players to the fans in fresh new ways, helping to solidify their position as community members while simultaneously increasing their visibility.

Like Kelce Jam, this concert would open the doors to sponsorships to offset production costs. Whether it’s T-Mobile like Kelce Jam or a handful of local sponsors, this event would provide an opportunity to lift the brand in attendees' eyes and establish or strengthen community roots. 

The Kelce Jam was a perfect case study on how leagues and teams can find success with a music-meets-sports mash-up event. Held at an outdoor concert venue just outside of the Kansas City Metro- Azura Amphitheatre in Bonner Springs, Kansas—Kelce established the “first-ever” Kelce Jam Festival with music from leading artists like Machine Gun Kelly, Rick Ross, Loud Luxury, and Kansas City’s own Tech N9ne. 

Kelce Jam was capped off with a show-stopping drone light show we produced, which showed firsthand how the gathered partygoers from Chiefsnation— and even Kelce himself were awed by the spectacle.

The community was electrified—and their bond with the Chiefs, Kelce, and perhaps more importantly, the NFL as a brand was strengthened. We can go even further with our preseason parties—and connect a community with their team in new and unprecedented ways that cement the UFL’s place in fans' minds for many years to come. 

#GIDDYUP BIRMINGHAM!

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Proud home of the Stallions, Birmingham, Alabama, can generate a ton of excitement around the team from the large student population, including those attending the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) and Samford University. Alabama has no professional teams and only a few semi-pro teams in the region, allowing B'ham to shine on the national stage on Stallions game days! The UFL has a fantastic opportunity to launch this new era with a memorable event that will show citizens of the Magic City that the league and team are all in for them and their city!

We will give our Birmingham bash a big helping of Alabama flavor with a collection of food carts and pop-ups from the most beloved restaurants in town. We’re talking BBQ, shrimp and grits, fried green tomatoes, and more from the kitchens of Eugene’s Hot Chicken, Niki’s West, Johnny’s, Saw’s Barbecue, and lots more. 

Get enough to eat? Don’t leave just yet! There’s still the UFL Fan Combine, where everyone can participate in fun events based on the NFL Scouting Combine to test their football skills. It will be a fun and relaxed experience, and everyone’s welcome to participate. Hang around the event for a little while, and you will have the opportunity to interact with the top stars from the Stallions 2024 squad, including QB J'Mar Smith, WR Victor Bolden, WR Deon Cain, WR Amari Rodgers, LB Scooby Wright, and others.

The event will feature a free concert that includes B'ham and regional talent like—TrooperLady LegsMood RoomJahnah CamilleBo HenryDamn SkippyShaheed & DJ Supreme, and Gucci Mane, to name a few. They'll all be there to pump up the crowd, support the community the team, and show their love for the city!

The 500-drone light show is, of course, the big finale of the event and will feature a brilliant array of all things uniquely Birmingham, including floral formations from the Botanical Gardens, an animated steam engine (invented in Birmingham), UAB and other school logos, and of course, a giant helmet sporting the Stallions crest and other team and UFL football imagery.

FEARLESSNESS AT FULL THROTTLE!

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Texas is, and always will be, all about football, which means there’s already a community that is ready to support the Roughnecks with their hearts and souls—especially when the team shows love right back to the fans with their presence in the community and by hosting big events like our proposed season kickoff bash!

Anyone who’s ever traveled to H-Town knows that the food scene is eclectic—and the local chefs are amazing—so we propose going big and bringing a festival of flavor to the kickoff event with pop-ups, food trucks, and more—giving fans a chance to enjoy everything from Tex-Mex breakfast tacos to Creole and Vietnamese-Cajun from TacodeliRay’s BBQ ShackCrawfish and Noodles, and a cornucopia of others who come to feed hungry Houston Roughnecks supporters. 

Before or after chowing down on some Houston classics, everyone can participate in a super-fun Fan Combine. With events modeled after a real pro combine, it’s a chance for everyone to get a little exercise and get to know the Roughneck players like RB Mark Thompson, WR Isiah Hennie, WR Justin Hall, OLB Reuben Foster, S Manny Bunch, and many more at this family-friendly event! 

The evening will feature a free concert headlined by local bands and singers calling Houston home, including Creed FisherThe Black AngelsThe RocketboysPentatonixMaren Morris, and others who will proudly represent H-Town and the Roughnecks.

At the end of the event, we will light up the Houston sky with a 500-drone light show custom-made for the city and its new favorite football team. There will be rockets lifting off from the Space Center (complete with countdown), booming oil rigs, and a massive helmet sporting the Houston Roughnecks logo in all its glory as a salute to fans!

DEFEND THE DISTRICT!

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Look at the Washington Commander's season ticket waiting list over the years. You’ll see that football fans from the District of Columbia area are as passionate and loyal as you’ll find anywhere in the country—so the UFL and Defenders have a fantastic opportunity to use the season kickoff event to show their fans love and in the process forge bonds that can last for decades. 

Anyone who says DC is not a town for foodies hasn’t spent much time there! The city is loaded with amazing eateries featuring cuisine from almost everywhere on the planet, not to mention local dishes (half-smoke, anyone?)! The preseason kickoff event will feature chow from the District’s favorite to feed players, fans, and families, including Ben’s Chili BowlCaptain White’s SeafoodEl Tamarindo, and other delicious DC delights.

Fans can work up an appetite while engaging in the first UFL Fan Combine. This family-friendly event invites everyone to test their football skills in events modeled after a real scouting combine. It's fun in a relaxed social environment where they will meet the Defenders players, including RB Abram Smith, WR Kelvin Harmon, WR Preston Williams, DB DJ Swearinger, and many others!

The DC area is brimming with musical energy, giving the festival a chance to highlight new and established local artists who know how to move the crowd, like Thievery CorporationGinuwineTrouble FunkAbe MametAirospaceAlex VaughnAri Voxx and the Sad LadsBroke Royals, and more. The free concert will rally fans and forge new connections to the team and city! 

The event will conclude with an epic 500-drone light show featuring awe-inspiring patriotic formations, including landmarks like the Washington Monument and Capitol Hill, iconic images like DC’s Cherry Blossoms, and team imagery including a massive Marauders logo that will stay in the consciousness—and social media feeds—of everyone in attendance long into the season ahead.

ONE CITYONE HEARTBEAT!

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Although the rest of the country sees the NFL Cowboys as “America’s Team, many residents of Arlington see that famous franchise as their team. But in a city that loves football as much as Arlington, there’s plenty of room in people’s hearts for a second hometown team. Especially when Winter turns to Spring, and everyone needs a healthy dose of top-tier pro football. The Renegades can be an additional team for the city to call its own. And given that it’s a team with a unique community-minded approach that prioritizes building a bond with local fans and businesses, this kickoff party in Downtown Arlington could be the start of a beautiful relationship.

Arlington's clubs and concert halls have been the birthplace of great music. Now, a new generation is ready to take the stage—as we use our preseason party mainstage to showcase the best local bands and musical acts like Sauce WalkaThe SuffersKen The ManThe TontonsDendeLebra JolieMonaleo, and The Record Company and many others.

There will be some mouthwatering casual dining options to choose from at the event, all arriving via food trucks from some of the top names in Arlington’s food scene, including Halo Hawaiian BBQTwisted Root Dinner CompanyBabe’s Chicken Dinner, and many more on hand to represent the best local fare.

On top of all that great local food, fans can participate in the UFL Fan Combine, where everyone of all ages and skill levels can test their football skills at some fun events in a relaxed, non-competitive environment. Fans will also get a chance to meet top Renegades players, including LB Vic Beasley, WR Deontay Burnett, DT Davontae Lambert, P Marquette King, and others who stop by to get to know the fan base and build ties with the community.

This fun, chill day for fans comes to a close with the grand finale: a custom drone light show featuring images inspired by Texas football culture and the City of Arlington: A game-winning field goal at a High School championship, the Texas Longhorn steer, and of course, the logo of the Arlington Renegades to see people off with excitement about the season to come!

IT’S SHOWTIME MEMPHIS!

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We’re having the best restaurants in the city fire up their food trucks and join us for the party. It will be an All-Pro roster to remember, including Cousins Maine LobsterEl Mero Taco TruckSoi Number 9, and the legendary A & R BBQ.

After enjoying a great meal, fans of all ages can take part in the very first UFL Fan Combine - events based on a real professional scouting combine, but in a festive, non-competitive environment where players like QB Case Cookus, RB Darius Victor, WR Derrick Dillon, WR Vinny Papale, a host of other star players are on hand to get to know the fans and the community on a personal level.

Memphis is the birthplace of rock n’ roll—with a history that local artists take seriously every time they walk on stage. Artists like GlorillaYo GottiYoung DolphKey GlockBlvck HippieThe Band CaminoRiver City Tan LinesBailey Zimmermanand others can cement their place in Memphis music history and strengthen relationships with local fans as they pump up the crowd with a musical pep rally for the Showboats! 

The Memphis-style 500-drone show finale will be in the hearts and minds of fans for years to come—featuring massive images of icons from the Home of the Blues, including the Sun Records logo and gates of Graceland, the I Love Memphis Mural, Elvis, Ike Turner, and B.B.King, and of course the Showboats logo, helmet, and jersey all lit up in the Memphis night sky.

IT’S TIME TO ROAR DETROIT

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If any city understands the importance of community, it’s Detroit, Michigan. While the city has risen to new heights through grassroots movements and the alliance of local businesses and citizens—they have always had a deep passion for hometown teams—these are not fair-weather fans—the city has seen some lean years in the past! While the Lions are roaring like they have not in years, the Panthers give Motor City a new symbol of hope, pride, and something to root for in the Lion's offseason.

Another thing that this city has in spades is fantastic food–and we’re going to make room in the parking lot for a collection of Detroit’s best—with a mix of cuisine as diverse as the Motor City itself, including Detroit 75 KitchenFork in NigeriaBrother Truckers, and many more! 

Before or after a great meal at the food trucks, Panthers fans get a unique opportunity to meet and greet with their favorite (or soon-to-be favorite) players at the Fan Combine. Everyone, regardless of age or ability, can take part in events modeled after a real pro scouting combine, all while players like RB Reggie Corbin, WR Corey Coleman, DE Breeland Speaks, S Shalom Luani, S Kai Nacua, and many others watch on as they chat with fans from the community.

When it’s showtime on the concert mainstage, we can turn to an eclectic mix of rock and hip-hop from bands that could only be born in the Detroit area, like NFFrontier RuckusJax AndersonBig SeanStoop LeeAint AfraidJack Droze & LilahkBrooklyn QueenKaci the ModelChecker, and Rose St. Germaine

A drone light show in a clear Michigan night sky will take football frenzy to the next level in Detroit Rock City, with formations ranging from KISS in full makeup to an Eminem mic drop on 8 Mile Road. There will also be classic auto industry images and the Michigan Panthers logo to rev up those in attendance on the eve of the inaugural UFL season.

#TOROUNIDOS SAN ANTONIO! 

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San Antonio has passionately supported its hometown NBA team, the Spurs for decades. If there was ever a city with a surplus of fan love to give, it’s the good people of the Alamo City. Now comes The Brahmas of the UFL—a team dedicated to winning on the field and connecting with the community off of it. In football-crazy Texas, this should be the perfect match.

Fans and families will want to visit the inaugural UFL Fan Combine—where, just like in a real pro scouting combine, they can test your football skills and athletic prowess. But you don’t have to be an elite athlete to take part. On the contrary, this fan event caters to fans of all ages and skill levelsThis event is special because it allows fans to meet star players like QB Kurt Benkert, TE Cody Latimer, DE Drew Beesley, DB Teez Tabor, and others in person!

San Antonio football fans hungry for their team to start its first UFL season need to be fed, so we’re bringing the tastiest, most popular food trucks in Alamo City to our event. Fans can expect delicacies from top mobile pop-ups like Holy Smoke BBQ & TaquitosStone Bros. Mobile PizzasAy Que Rico, and many more delicious options.  

At the event, Brahmas fans can rock out to the sounds of local stars like ButtercupThe Panic DivisionLa Tropa FAustin Mahone, Shelly Lares, Cadillac MuzikYoung Mike, and others as they get ready for the season to start—and there are sure to be on-stage shenanigans from some of the Brahmas bigtime playmakers! 

If that is not enough, we will cap off the event with a 500-drone light featuring imagery that will stir the soul of every San Antonian—the Alamo, the NBA Spurs logo, the Riverwalk, and, of course, a giant drone formation featuring the logo of their hometown team, The Brahmas—oh, and you know there’ll be room for the drone-style rendition of team owner Dwayne Johnson’s classic crooked eyebrow!

LET’S GO ST LOUIS!

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The success of the XFL’s 2023 Battlehawks proved that St. Louis was hungrier than ever for a pro football team in their town. But it was more than that. The ‘Hawks felt like “their team” – a local source of pride in many ways that the Rams franchise simply couldn’t replicate. Now imagine taking these loyal, passionate fans and giving them a team dedicated to creating an unprecedented level of connection with the community—now you’ve got the making of something special!

At the heart of this special event is the UFL Fan Combine - where everyone is invited to take part in football skills events inspired by real pro football scouting combine. The combine is open to all ages and skill levels - plus there will be some extraordinary guests on hand to meet with fans: the Battlehawks players, including WR Hakeem Butler, WR Jahcour Pearson, G Steven Gonzalez, C Mike Panasiuk, and others in their first chance to form a bond with the community that supports them on and off the field.

The best way to capture the hearts, minds—and stomachs of a party-going crowd in St. Louis is to invite some of the best BBQ in the USA, all made by local grilling experts like Pappy’sHeavy Smoke, and A Fine Swine, all fired up and ready to feed the masses of hungry Battlehawks fans in attendance—while simultaneously helping local companies and fostering community spirit. 

From million-selling hip-hop artists to bands just starting to break through - the only things musical acts who appear on your party mainstage need to bring are talent and proof they call the St. Louis home. Be there as talented artists like Jordan WardUncle TupeloHazmatNellyBig Boss VetteKeyon HarroldBlvck Spvde and the CosmosNandoSTL, and more hit the stage.

The 500 drone light show finale will feature St. Louis’ most legendary landmarks, including the Gateway Arch, Anheuser-Busch Brewery, and, of course, to fire everyone up for the UFL season ahead—a huge 3D drone formation of the Battlehawks logo.

AN ROI THAT WILL PAY OFF ALL SEASON LONG 

This is more than putting on a one-time event across multiple UFL cities - its goal is to fuel fan passion, fanning a flame that will burn bright all season long and potentially for generations—inspiring the city to get behind their team and the team to support the community. Fans will share their footage of the drone show long after the event is over. Team hype videos will feature the local bands who rocked the parties. Relationships made over fandom for the team will live on and form communities. It’s an unprecedented approach to launching a league, but one that will grow and thrive with a tremendous foundation born out of a love of football.